As registered dietitians and personal trainers, we encourage our clients to contact us when they’re in a bind and need support and guidance. So we weren’t surprised when our client Melissa, who was having a family-packed summer, filled with long days at the swimming pool, soccer day camp and at the park, contacted us. She was panicked; she claimed she was reverting to her old ways, packing Cheez Its and Combos and other easy packaged snacks for her family since it was easy and available. Her plan this summer was to snack on unprocessed, wholesome snacks since her goal was for the entire family to eat more healthfully. But it wasn’t happening.
So Melissa reached out to us, literally calling us from the deck of the community swimming pool with her kids, telling her they were ready for their snacks. She told us she was feeling guilty and was hoping for some encouragement and a reminder of some quick and easy yet nutritious snack ideas that she could bring to the pool and to outings that the entire family would enjoy.
Many of our clients ask us about this frequently. And we always tell them to go back to basics. Think of the foods that require very little to no processing at all, just like they exist in nature. Focus on those foods that you can see nearly all of the ingredients.
Here’s a list of some foods that are healthy and nourishing, satiating and minimally processed– and that work well when you’re on the road or at home and just want a healthy snack. Keep a mini-cooler with you when you’re on the road or at the pool for items that require refrigeration:
•Fruits—all are good! Apples, oranges, grapes, bananas, cherries, strawberries… (try making fruit kebobs for kids by using skewers). Even canned fruits that are canned in their own juices with no added sugar can work well, so no excuses that the fruit will go bad!
•Vegetables—carrots, celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, snow peas, etc.—they are all fabulous!
•Nuts—pistachios, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, etc. (watch portions, stick to a couple tablespoons to keep calories in check.) Try portioning nuts into zip-loc baggies. Then grab a bag and eat the nuts with a piece of fruit.
•Non-fat or low-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt (Greek yogurt is very satiating because it’s higher in protein. Oikos makes a good organic variety)
•Hummus and salsa for dipping vegetables
•Low-fat string cheese (Organic Valley makes a good one)
•Air-popped popcorn (look for those with less than 3 grams of fat preserving and low in sodium)
•Whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese
•Whole grain crackers and natural peanut butter (Tammy uses Santa Cruz Lightly Roasted Organic Crunchy)